Qatar Airways aiming to buy 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia

Qatar Airways aiming to buy 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia
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A move by Qatar Airways to buy a 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia could herald a shake-up in the national aviation sector, experts say.

The Middle East carrier is in talks with Bain Capital-owned Virgin Australia, the Australian Financial Review reports today.

Sources claim an announcement could be made next week, but any potential deal would have to be cleared by Australia’s competition watchdog, the Foreign Investment Review Board.

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A Qatar Airways plane flying through the sky

Even then the federal government could decide to block the Qatari government-owned airline.

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Aviation expert Geoff Thomas told Today this morning, if the reported deal goes ahead it could mean cheaper prices for international flights.

“Given Qatar gets more services as part of this … possibly as a part of this Virgin deal, yes, it could it could really reshape some pricing.”

He said Qatar Airways – recently named Skytrax airline of the year – was likely to be seeking a stake in Virgin Australia to compete with the Qantas-Emirates alliance.

The federal government has previously knocked back Qatar Airways efforts to secure additional flying rights to Australia.

Last year the Transport Minister denied extra flights to Qatar last year, citing national security concerns.

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The decision was made following an incident in 2020 when five innocent Australian women were taken off a Qatar Airways plane at Doha Airport and subjected to a strip search.

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